Literary Birthday – 23 November – Guy Davenport

Guy Davenport was born 23 November 1927, and died 4 January 2005.


  1. I never intended to be a teacher. I just like going to school and learning things.
  2. As long as you have ideas you can keep going. That’s why writing fiction is so much fun, because you’re moving people about, and making settings for them to move in, so there’s always something there to keep working on.
  3. Art is always the replacement of indifference by attention.
  4. I like to believe that I don’t think of myself as a writer. I am an amateur. Back when I was teaching I wrote when I could. Weekends were good typewriter time. Now, it’s whenever I feel there’s something to be put on paper. I don’t care what time it is, though I always write in the notebooks at night.
  5. I suppose you wait until it’s irresistible, then start working on it one way or another. When that time comes, I move from longhand to the typewriter.
  6. The poet is at the edge of our consciousness of the world, finding beyond the suspected nothingness which we imagine limits our perception another acre or so of being worth our venturing upon.
  7. Sometimes when reading Goethe I have a paralysing suspicion that he is trying to be funny.
  8. Isn’t all art symbolic? Art itself is symbol. A symbol is simply a drenched identity, a thing more than equal to itself

Guy Davenport was an American writer, translator, illustrator, painter, intellectual, and teacher. His works include Da Vinci’s Bicycle and The Jules Verne Steam Balloon.


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by Amanda Patterson

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Posted on: 23rd November 2013